Policy/Procedures for Adoption of Research/Teaching Animals

Animals used in teaching and research are owned by the University and are considered property of the State of Illinois. Upon completion of a research project, dogs, cats, horses, and ornamental fish that are not needed for approved research/teaching projects may be considered for adoption. Animals from a research study may also be considered for adoption if the funding entity has specified this as a requirement. Domestic ornamental fish from a research or teaching protocol may be adopted as pets, but not to stock ponds for fishing or to serve as food for other animals. The Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or a designated member of the IACUC Office staff will be assigned as the Animal Adoption Coordinator for University-owned animals.

Requests for adoption of animals, which have been used on research or teaching protocols within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests are limited to dogs, cats, horses, and ornamental fish. Adoption of these animals as pets will be granted only to University of Illinois students, staff, and faculty when adoption is indicated as an option on the relevant approved IACUC protocol(s). An individual may adopt a maximum of two animals. Future adoptions will be considered when one or both of the original adopted animals die. The number of fish that may be adopted will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

To avoid tax complications for donors, in general, any animal donated to the University (or the Foundation) whose value exceeds $5,000.00 will not be eligible for adoption unless:

  1. It was owned by the University (or the Foundation) for a minimum of three years, or
  2. The University (or the Foundation) certifies on IRS Form 8282 that:
    1. the use of the animal was related to the University's exempt purposes, or
    2. the use of the animal was not related to the University's exempt purposes and the intended use of the animal became impossible or infeasible to implement.

The eventual disposition (euthanasia, transfer to another protocol, or adoption) of all animals used for teaching or research must be clearly stated within the Animal Use Protocol submitted to the IACUC by the PI listed on the protocol. Specific requirements concerning disposition of animals by a funding or sponsoring agency should be noted in the animal use protocol. When adoption has been requested as a possible method of disposition in the animal use protocol, the final disposition of the animal(s) will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the designated IACUC staff, in consultation with the appropriate Institutional Veterinarian or his/her designee, on the following prioritized basis: 1) transfer to another protocol and use by another faculty member of the University of Illinois, 2) consideration for adoption if transfer to another research or teaching protocol is not appropriate.

In a case where there is documentation from the entity funding the research that mandates adoption, the IACUC will assume that the animals are to be adopted, rather than transferred to another protocol. Either transfer or adoption may be precluded by problems of health or temperament, or other unforeseen problems.

The fiscal responsibility for all non-terminal research/teaching animals will remain the responsibility of the PI or his/her home department following the completion of the study or instruction until final disposition is accomplished. The full unsubsidized per diem rate will be charged to the responsible party for the care of these animals. No federal or state funds will be used to cover per diem charges for animals during the adoption process. If adoption is anticipated, funds should be identified in advance for extending the per diem period and for covering the cost of the required physical examination prior to adoption. Some sponsors will consider requests to fund per diem beyond the length of a study in order to permit adoption. Animals on active research or teaching protocols have priority for housing. Pending adoption, animals can only be housed on a space available basis.

In order for an animal to be considered for adoption, the following sequential procedures must be completed:

  1. The PI or instructor will notify the IACUC Office that the animal(s) is available for adoption. The IACUC Chair or designee, in consultation with the appropriate attending veterinarian and the relevant IACUC protocol, will determine if a) other faculty members have a need for the animal(s) in their teaching or research programs and b) the animal(s) in question are suitable for use in the research or teaching activity to which they would be transferred. In all cases, needs of the University teaching and research programs should be considered before animals are released for adoption, except in the case where adoption is mandated by the funding entity.
  2. If the animal(s) are released for adoption, the PI or instructor must assure the IACUC Chair and the Institutional Veterinarian, by completion of the Investigator Request for Release of Animal for Adoption Form, that, in their opinion, each animal that may be available for adoption would make a suitable pet.
  3. The Institutional Veterinarian or his/her designee will perform a physical exam of the animal and certify that it is suitable for adoption.
  4. The IACUC Office will notify only faculty, staff, and students listed on the relevant IACUC protocol(s) of availability of animals for adoption.
  5. To affirm that the potential owner will obtain the necessary vaccinations and have the animal neutered and to pay for such procedures, the person desiring to adopt a research or teaching animal must complete the Request for Adoption of Purchased Research/Teaching Animals.

Once these conditions have been met, the animals can be offered for adoption.

In all cases, the Institutional Official, IACUC Chair, and/or the Attending Veterinarian have the right to deny any adoption request. If the IACUC Chair and the Attending Veterinarian approve the adoption, the prospective owner must make an appointment at their own expense for the animal to be examined, vaccinated if necessary, and neutered (if animal to be adopted is a dog or cat) by a veterinarian.

Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Institutional Official (Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research) of the University of Illinois.

See Attachments

Attachment 1: Request for Animal Adoption Checklist (PDF)
Attachment 2: Request for Adoption of Purchased Research/Teaching Animals (PDF)
Attachment 3: Investigator Request for Release of Animal for Adoption (PDF)